Every time you start a new series or read a new author, you don’t know what to expect. That’s exactly the case with this book. I don’t read previews of books on Amazon so I can be totally surprised by the new books content. Sometimes it doesn’t happen and the book turns our not so good, but that’s definitely not one of these times. This first book by Chaney & Mixon is just outstanding! I will be reading the other three in this four book series.
We don’t start off as you would expect. The Confederation Navy in this far distant future isn’t doing so well in that they have defended the galaxy to the point of not having any enemies to fight in a long, long time. The ships of this Navy have all been converted to cruisers loaded with the latest technology. They are definitely war-fighting vessels with dedicated Navy personnel doing their duty no matter how routine it now may be in a peacetime environment. Captain Jack Romanoff is the current Captain of the Confederation Starship Hawkwing. He’s bringing his ship back to Fleet Headquarters from its last mission. Fleet HQ is a space station orbiting around the planet Faust, Captain Romanoff’s planet of birth. This is also his last mission aboard this ship and probably his last activity in the Confederation Navy.
Captain Romanoff is reporting to Vice Admiral Suzanne LaChasse for what he expected to be his final orders. Jack had been a good Captain. Still, five years ago, his ship had came close to ramming another vessel that had sharply cut in front of him and while he averted the collision, it was a mark against his record regardless of the outcome of the investigation into the incident. He didn’t know for sure if this would keep him from being promoted to Commodore, which was the Navy’s next logical move, or if they had so little regard for ship’s Captains as to no longer need his services. The latter seemed to be what was coming since the Navy had been downsizing for quite some time.
Two hundred years ago, humanity found another intelligence in the universe. They were very hostile and became known as the Locust, a robotic invasion force that almost wiped out humanity at first contact. The only thing that saved the Fleet and the rest of humanity were the huge battleships that now only existed in a mothball fleet or as a museum. One such ship, the Delta Orionis was exactly that orbiting near the Fleet HQ and above Faust as a monument to those who fought so valiantly two hundreds years ago. Captain Romanoff had visited the museum as a young child with his father, retired Grand Admiral Eric Romanoff. Jack was amazed at the huge size of this battleship built around and in an asteroid! He saw it one last time as the Hawkwing sailed past it to berth at the Fleet HQ.
While Jack knew that his father, even in retirement, could pull some string and get him his promotion, Jack definitely didn’t want that to happen. He believed he had earned the next rank and could do the job as well or better than anyone else of that rank in the current Navy. Unfortunately, Vice Admiral LaChasse wasn’t on his friend list. Once in her office, she made it clear that Jack’s days as a Naval officer were over. He was told to report to personnel out-processing section and go into retirement. That was basically a “Good Bye” and don’t come back message. It took all of 5 minutes for Jack’s career to end, or so he thought.
Then on his way to out-process, Jack was accosted by a Doctor Alan Prescott, Director of the Locust War Historical Society. This short meeting which lead to a long lunch, would be the start of something Captain Romanoff would never had believed possible. Dr. Prescott firmly believed that the Locust would eventually come back and finish exterminating humanity, but he couldn’t convince anyone presently of that belief. Still, he had a job for Captain Romanoff, one that Jack absolutely could not refuse given the circumstances and the fact that he desperately wanted to stay in the Navy. Unbelievable as it was, this job was also going to come with a promotion to Commodore, but Jack was soon to find out that he was going to definitely earn this promotion many times over in this new and surprising job.
I appreciate that these two authors managed to get the rank structure in the Navy right. It’s a little bit annoying to have an new author create their own rank structure so you have to figure out where different people fit in their Naval organization, but not in this book. Everyone fits where they should although there are some questionable reductions in rank with some of the officers still on active duty. Normally, if an Officer is reduced in rank, he or she is also separated from active service. Not so in this book even though the Navy is in a draw-down period, so that’s a little questionable about what’s happening to some of the people you’re going to read about. Still, all the characters are very well created even though some just seem too good to be true. Jack also has a tendency to be rescued from trouble just as it starts to happen. Call it luck or whatever, it’s a good thing he does get rescued since he’s going to be coming to the rescue of all of humanity.
This story continues in book 2, “Bonds of Blood” available on Amazon. I have it on my reading list and I think I’m going to move to it next. The rest of my books can just wait because I can’t wait to read what’s going to happen next!